From February 3 – 7, VIU welcomes the local community to take part in Global Citizens Week. The activities will showcase the many initiatives that faculty, students, and community members are involved in to help build a better, more sustainable world.

Innovation in Action is the theme of this year’s event, in effort to coincide with International Development Week activities taking place across Canada.

“We have the ideas, the knowledge and the motivation to solve deep-rooted problems such as homelessness, inequality, environmental destruction and climate change,” says Darrell Harvey, VIU’s Coordinator of International Projects and Internationalization. “We are not letting the challenges of solving these problems become barriers to action. There are many people in the university community and among our partners who are putting new ideas into action.”

Next week, the Nanaimo campus will host a variety of exhibits and visiting speakers, as well as a film festival and musical performances exploring issues of global development at home and abroad. Last year, more than 2,500 people took part in activities throughout the Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses.

The week-long festivities begin on Monday at 11:30am in the Upper Cafeteria in Building 300 with the Global VIU Showcase, featuring exhibits from faculty and staff who are charting a new way forward and can speak to the innovative projects they are involved with at the local and global level.

Premier events include the Engaged Citizens Speaker Series: Conversations for a One Planet Region. Visiting guest speaker Dr. Trevor Hancock presents on the need to engage citizens on understanding the massive and rapid human-induced global ecological changes that are occurring, and how to develop local actions.

Panel discussions and presentations occurring throughout the week will cover a variety of topics, such as Indigenous involvement in sustainable watershed management, and how tourism experiences are integrating truth and reconciliation. The Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series will reflect on refugee experiences through the eyes of a comic artist. The Colloquium Series event will be followed by a special screening of Sadika’s Garden, a moving story about a Canadian family, who were once refugees themselves, and the family from war-torn Raqqa in Syria they sponsored to come to Canada.

Finishing off the amazing list of activities is the third annual All Nations Reggae Symposium, featuring well-known BC artist Caleb Hart, 2016 Nova Writes competition winner Abena Beloved Green, Jamaican-born Ameal “Stainless” Hanson, and Sergio “Cheko” Soto of the reggae band Skanky Roots.

“VIU’s vision is shaped by the ideals of a just, equitable and sustainable global community,” Harvey adds. “Events like Global Citizens Week remind us there is a connection between the local issues and the bigger global problems. I encourage everyone to come to VIU to witness the work that is being done to tackle these issues, engage in conversation and be inspired to get involved.”

All Global Citizens Week events are free. For a full schedule, please visit